Cellculture and blood handling

Cell cultures and blood handling may constitute a risk in the laboratory environment.

The handling of human blood, and other human sample material, such as tissue and primary cultures is regulated in the Swedish Work Environment Authority's provision "Microbiological Work Environment Risks – Infection, Toxigenic Effect, Hypersensitivity", please see "Laws related to work environment" on the right. The main rule for blood handling in these provisions is to handle all blood and blood contaminated material as if it was infectious.

Blood handling may only take place in laboratories that have access to skin disinfection, as well as hand washing facilities. The laboratory space in which work with blood takes place must be clearly marked, delimited from other activities and easily cleaned. The handling of blood does not require a specific permit from the Swedish Work Environment Authority.

There must be written instructions on how to handle blood in each respective work place. The written instructions shall be based on a risk assessment. The risk assessment may be carried out on the KI risk assessment form for blood and other human sample materials – HUMRA.

Please see "Risk assessments – Biosafety" for a description of the risk assessment.

Blood from a blood bank shall also be handled as potentially infectious since, most often, it has not been tested before the blood is given out. For more information about blood handling at KI, please see the document "Rules for the handling of blood at KI".

Handling cell cultures

There may also be risks involved in the handling of cell cultures. Handling of cell cultures from animals, generally, involves less of a risk than handling human cell cultures.

Human cell cultures and tumours may contain, for example, Hepatitis B and HIV. In a study conducted by Radil laboratories 800 cultures were studied, out of which 0.61% were HIV positive. Primary cultures entail a higher risk, comparable to handling of blood. All cell cultures are regulated by the Swedish Work Environment Authority's provision about microbiological work environment risks, where they normally belong to risk group 1.

Note that purchased cell cultures cannot always be handled as non-infectious.

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